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Executive Summary  
Event and Status Dropout Rates  
Type of Dropout Rates        
Event Dropout Rates        
Status Dropout Rates        
High School Completion Rates  
High School Completion Rates        
Method of High School Completion        
Text Tables and Figures  
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High School Completion Rates
The high school completion rate represents the proportion of 18- through 24-year- olds who have completed a high school diploma or an equivalent credential, including a General Educational Development (GED) credential20. Despite the increased importance of a high school education, the high school completion rate for the country has increased only slightly over the last quarter of a century. Between 1972 and 1985, high school completion rates climbed by 2.6 percentage points (from 82.8 percent in 1972 to 85.4 percent in 1985); since 1985, the rate has fluctuated around 85 and 86 percent (figure 3 and table A13). This net increase of about 3 percentage points over 28 years represents slow progress toward achieving the national goal of a 90 percent high school completion rate21.

20 The high school completion rate is based on the population of young adults ages 18 through 24 who are not still enrolled in high school or below; the status dropout rate is based on the population ages 16 through 24. Thus, the age range of the status dropout rate is 2 years wider, and those 18- through 24-year-olds who are still enrolled in a high school program are excluded from the calculation of the high school completion rate. Because of these differences, the status dropout rate and the high school completion rate are not the simple inverse of each other.
21 National Education Goals Panel, The National Education Goals Report: Building a Nation of Learners, 1999 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1999).
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